Take the Federal Money

Let us set the scene: Your doorbell rings.  You open the door and there stands Dave Sayer from Publishers Clearing House holding a 24″ by 36″ cardboard check.  What would you do?

If you are a Michigan Senate Republican, you would tell Dave to wait for a couple of hours while you think it over and close the door.  The Michigan Senate has been dithering over Medicaid expansion for more than a year.  This would extend Medicaid coverage to all adults with income less than 133% of the federal poverty level, without regard to whether they are disabled.  Under present law, adults between 21 and 65 are only eligible for Medicaid if they are disabled.  Since this expansion would be completely paid for by the federal government, the Michigan legislature is turning down an offer of billions of dollars with essentially no strings attached.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said on July 17, 2013 that it is “probable” that the Senate Medicaid workgroup will have a Medicaid expansion proposal ready by July 24 and the senate would vote on the proposal in late August.  Considering that it is 40 months since the Affordable Care Act was passed and 13 months since the Supreme Court upheld the law, and the deadline to ratify Medicaid expansion is October 1, 2013, the Michigan Senate is next to criminally dilatory.

Mr. Richardville acts as if ratifying Medicaid expansion is a compex, difficult proposition.  According to Gongwer Michigan, Mr. Richardville stated, “I asked (the group) to give me a progress report and if we were ready, then we would take a vote and have discussion. But they weren’t quite there yet, (Sen. Roger Kahn) thinks they’re between a half and two-thirds complete with something, so I didn’t think it made a whole lot of sense to talk about something that wasn’t ready for a full discussion.”  He is trying to rationalize blatant, intentional procrastination.  How hard is it to write “Yes” on a piece of paper and vote on it?  Mr. Richardville and his accomplices do not like the Affordable Care Act, so they will slash the tires, put sugar in the gas tank, and smash the windshield – any destructive act they can dream up — to keep it from moving forward.

What is the point of this?  The federal government is knocking with the money in hand.  Refusing to open the door is asinine.  Considering that this money is intended to provide health care for the poor, it is also malicious.  Medicaid expansion would cover 450,000 Michiganians whose only sin is to lack a good job or rich parents.  If one per cent of those who will not receive medical care under the expansion die for lack of care, that is 4,500 needless deaths.

All the senate Republicans have to do is open the door act accept the money.  Anything else is misgovernment.


John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
©2013 John B. Payne, Attorney

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